Heroes of Atroa
The Aranath Desert spans the northern reaches of the southern continent. It serves as a boundary between Esziss and the rest of Atroa, and houses its fair share of secrets and dangers. Foremost amongst those dangers are brown dragons who wait in ambush for unwary travelers. Many tribes of shifters roam the dunes, as well as gnolls, bugbears, and even a few goliath bands. The conditions are harsh, to say the least, and made worse by the multiple fire and wind vortexes that dot the landscape.
Aranholm: There are few civilizations outside the nomadic tribes. One such is the city of Aranholm located on the shores of the Lion’s Head Sea just south of Gilder. Halflings compose the vast majority of its population, with tieflings coming-in a distant second. A handful of firesoul genasi, dragonborn, and half-orcs also make-up a sizable portion of Aranholm’s population while smaller numbers of most other races can be found therein, though not always as permanent residents. Mul’s and goliath share an unseemly residency in Aranholm; some of the tiefling nobility maintain the ownership of slaves. Mul’s are considered more “stylish” and are more sought after in the city than goliaths, though the half-giants are indispensable in the vineyards and farms in the center of the city. While considered to be a barbaric and cruel practice, slavery has undergone vast improvements in Aranholm since its inception. Compared to Tyrr and Ckalle, Aranholm’s slaves have it easy.
The halflings of Aranholm have adapted to living in the intense heat due to their reinforced warrens. They take full advantage of living in their cooler subterranean complexes. The tieflings, on the other hand, thrive in the heat and spend most of their time above-ground. Aranholm is the largest tiefling community outside of Ckalle, and home to most of the less-devious of the race. The port city trades heavily with Gilder, Sprohm, and Akanul. Their caravans even manage to brave the desert and jungles to occasionally trade with Barrzsa. Aranholm’s primary exports are salted fish products, pearls, intricately embroidered rugs, magic items, and figs. Prosperous despite its location, Aranholm has many noble families, mostly tiefling but at least one firesoul genasi and a few halfling. Many of the above-ground manses are built for beauty and durability and house untold riches. It is one of the few places on Atroa where tieflings are not only tolerated, but are the upper-crust of society. Aranholm is famous for its architecture, as well. Its white-washed buildings and brass domed roofs are iconic of the desert city. Religion is considered a taboo topic of discussion. Though one temple exists within city limits. The House of the Blazing Arc is a temple of Pelor and its visited primarily by the halfling community. Located within the temple are shines to Erathis and Kord. Most of the tieflings of Aranholm consider themselves more learned than pious, and often defer to the arcane arts.
Their military, while not the impressive size of Sprohm or Dunador, is well equipped to face the fell horrors of the desert. The city boasts a broad, thick wall with ballista towers every 50 feet or so and a deep foundation to deter burrowing creatures. Aranholm’s militia consists of specialized halfling soldiers, trained to survive the harsh desert and battle the goblinoid and gnoll minions of Higgamna. What few firesoul genasi enlisted in the army hold prominent stations and are often warlords of respectable level. Anranholm has one airship, a heavily modified and heavily armored model specially ordered from Sprohm by the most prominent tiefling house. The Dauntless is the first line of defense against airborne and burrowing threats. Specially designed with both air-to-air weaponry and ‘sand charges’; a curious alchemical grenade that sinks into the sand and melts and crystalizes sand into clusters of spiky glass upon detonation. This is the brainchild of Zuttrand Blackember, the most prominent and noteworthy tiefling in the southern hemisphere. If Aranholm were to name a ruler, Zuttrand would be she. But while she holds much sway over the political council of Aranholm, she is not responsible for, nor permitted in, making important decisions regarding the city.